Bookmobile on a roll: City’s new library on wheels debuts at Livingston Park after old van stalled out

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Mayor Joyce Craig, second from left,  joined Bookmobile staff for a late-in-the-season ribbon cutting on Aug. 18 at Livingston Park. Photo/Pat Grossmith

MANCHESTER, NH – The Manchester City Library’s bookmobile was a welcome site Monday when it debuted at Livingston Park and 80 children lined up to get their books.

The previous bookmobile didn’t make it through the winter so it was through the generosity of Quirk Motors and Sousa Signs that it made its return.

With COVID-19 still around, the bookmobile may be in play during the school year, not just during the summer as has been the case in the past two years.

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Kris Andra Dobson with daughter Hailey,5, and son Landon, nine months, was glad the bookmobile is back. Photo/Pat Grossmith

The program got a late start when the previous vehicle didn’t make it through the winter.  That is when Quirk Motors stepped up and donated a 2017 Dodge Ram Pro for the library.  The vehicle was graphically wrapped by Sousa Signs and features the slogan, “Manchester is driven to read.”

Mayor Joyce Craig said without Quirk’s and Sousa’s generosity and the community’s support the city would not have been able to get the program up and running and get the books into kids’ hands to form a love of reading. 

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Miranda Howard and her son, Donald Sweeney,5, took advantage of the Manchester City Library’s bookmobile Tuesday at the Beech Street School.Photo/Pat Grossmith

Tuesday, an official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held outside the Manchester City Library.  Then it was off to the Beech Street School where Karyn Isleb, head of youth services for the Manchester City Library, opened up the van and set up a table featuring a large bottle of hand sanitizer. 

In past years, books were spread out on tables so children could see what was there and pick out that perfect book to read.

This year, Isleb said books are packaged according to age and subject matter.  

This year the kids will be able to select a book by genre. 

“They get to take the bag and the book home to build their own libraries,” said Isleb.

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Karyn Isleb, head of youth services at the Manchester City Library, greets parents and children who arrived Tuesday at the parking lot at the Beech Street School to pick up a book from the bookmobile, all done with social distancing in mind. Photo/Pat Grossmith

Everything is pre-packaged said Kelly Jobel, an educator with the Manchester School District.

The van contained 1,200 of “I (Heart) Books” bags, each containing a book.  Staff began preparing for the bookmobile last June when orders were placed for the books.

Miranda Howard and her son Donald Sweeney arrived early to receive a book.  It was the first time for both of them.

Sweeney will be a kindergartner at the Highland-Goffes Falls school.

Last year, Isleb said, there were 3,000 kids who took part in the program.  This year, the school district directly notified families of the bookmobile and Isleb said the library sent out social posts reaching 7,000 individuals.

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Manchester has started up its Bookmobile again after the library received a graphically designed 2017 Dodge Ram Pro, courtesy of Quick Motors and Sousa Signs. Photo/Pat Grossmith

Liam Motyka, 8, is homeschooled by his mother Stephanie Motyka.  On Monday, he got a chapter book so at Beech Street he requested a book of non-fiction.  He was all smiles when he opened the bag and saw a book titled, “Animal Atlas.”  

“It’s great you came back with this,” said Kris Andra Dobson.  She brought Hailey, 5, and Landon, her 9-month-old son to the event.  “We have missed it all summer.”

Hailey will be a kindergartner at the Weston Elementary School.

“I’m all done with pre-school,” she said proudly.

 Everyone arriving at the bookmobile is asked to wear a face mask and practice social distancing.

Weekly stops are from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. and include the following locations: Mondays: Livingston Park (156 Hooksett Road), Tuesdays: Beech Street School (303 Beech St.), Wednesdays: Kelley Falls (440 Kimball St.), Thursdays: Jewett School (130 Jewett St.), Fridays: Elmwood Gardens (83 Trahan St.)


About this Author

Carol Robidoux

PublisherManchester Ink Link

Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!